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Salicylic Acid

(A Phenol)

This ‘beta’ acid is used in skincare to exfoliate (see EXFOLIATION) the non-viable cells and mortar of the upper layers of the skin. Concentrations range from 1 – 30%. It is a powder in form and not an acid, but a phenol and will not dissolve in water. It is often suspended / dissolved in glycols (the Skin Dork is not a fan of continuous daily application of glycols, btw) or alcohol.

Salicylic acid is found often at 2% concentrations in cleansers where a daily application is advocated to control acne breakouts and to present a fresh look to the world.

This is an unfortunate development in skincare because the cleanser/salicylic practice may rapidly lead to dependency, weakness and flare ups. Salicylic acid is often addictive. It can easily age the skin prematurely by increasing cell turnover. The consumer using salicylic acid over time is often surprised and mystified why her face suddenly goes bonkers when it was looking good using the salicylic acid cleanser. Addiction is the answer.

Many consumers especially those with high density skin (see ETHNIC SKIN AND EXFOLIATION – are you an HDST?) cannot tolerate even one application of low concentration salicylic acid.

Many others go along with increasing usage, higher concentrations or go to much stronger alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic or lactic. Flare ups are common. The use of makeup to hide these flare ups leads to more problems. A vicious cycle often occurs. Rosacea and dermatitis can be the next step in this downward spiral. Then antibiotics and BENZOYL PEROXIDE are employed creating even worse problems. And so on.

Salicylic Acid

(A Phenol)

This ‘beta’ acid is used in skincare to exfoliate (see EXFOLIATION) the non-viable cells and mortar of the upper layers of the skin. Concentrations range from 1 – 30%. It is a powder in form and not an acid, but a phenol and will not dissolve in water. It is often suspended / dissolved in glycols (the Skin Dork is not a fan of continuous daily application of glycols, btw) or alcohol.

Salicylic acid is found often at 2% concentrations in cleansers where a daily application is advocated to control acne breakouts and to present a fresh look to the world.

This is an unfortunate development in skincare because the cleanser/salicylic practice may rapidly lead to dependency, weakness and flare ups. Salicylic acid is often addictive. It can easily age the skin prematurely by increasing cell turnover. The consumer using salicylic acid over time is often surprised and mystified why her face suddenly goes bonkers when it was looking good using the salicylic acid cleanser. Addiction is the answer.

Many consumers especially those with high density skin (see ETHNIC SKIN AND EXFOLIATION – are you an HDST?) cannot tolerate even one application of low concentration salicylic acid.

Many others go along with increasing usage, higher concentrations or go to much stronger alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic or lactic. Flare ups are common. The use of makeup to hide these flare ups leads to more problems. A vicious cycle often occurs. Rosacea and dermatitis can be the next step in this downward spiral. Then antibiotics and BENZOYL PEROXIDE are employed creating even worse problems. And so on.

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